Perceived Levels of Stress and Physical Activity in College Students
Dr. Kelly Helm
Arts and Sciences
The purpose of this study was to investigate how college students perceive their stress levels before and after they participate in a physical activity (PA). A survey regarding perceived stress and PA was filled out by 101 students (M=51, F=50) at a private Midwestern University. The survey asked respondents to rank their perceived stress level on a 1 to 5 scale (1 being “low” and 5 being “high”) prior to participating in a PA. The respondents were asked to circle a PA in which they participated. If the respondent did not participate they did not circle a PA. The respondents then were asked how they perceived their stress level after participating. The researcher gathered information from all four classifications of undergraduate students (Freshman=39, Sophomore=32, Junior=19, Senior=11). Descriptive statistics showed that mean perceived stress pre-PA scores were highest among sophomores (M=4.1) followed by juniors (M=3.5), freshman (M=3.1) and seniors (M=2.8). The highest percent decrease in perceived stress post-PA was also shown in sophomores (30.20%, M=2.2) followed by seniors (24.4%, M=1.7), juniors (22.8%, M=2.2), and freshman (21.6%, M=2.0). A mean percent decrease in perceived stress after participating in PA (24.75%) was shown among all college students surveyed. As a result, descriptive statistics showed that students do perceive a lower stress level after participating in a PA than prior to participating in a PA. The researcher concluded that college students may benefit from participating in PA to reduce perceived stress.
Riley, Amanda, "Perceived Levels of Stress and Physical Activity in College Students" (2018). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 752.